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Friday, January 30, 2015

Stress in the Sack Home

This post has a happy ending, I promise.  But like the end of 2014 into January of 2015, it will go through some darkness to get there.

Do you know how I react to stress and bad situations in my life?

I become superficial.  Kind of.  In person I do much better, but my blogging just stops.  I can't put myself up here when everything that goes through my mind feels like complaining, or sharing too much, or fluff.  It's been three months since I wrote anything, and now I can write about it without straying too far into those problems.  Or maybe I just like happy endings.

A little background:  Take a look at my post from about a year ago.  I never followed up on Horyon's big test, because the results were not sunny.  She did not make the pass marks, while some other candidates for the job did.  Fortunately (I think) the school did not hire anyone, even though some were qualified.  The school was hoping to stall for a year and decide on criteria other than that test.  During 2014 they dropped hints that they really wanted to hire Horyon, and would have if her score had been higher, and that they would figure out a way to hire her for 2015.

Then things changed.  As usual, the new government had to make its mark, and one mark was requiring schools to use these test scores when hiring, even private schools like Hoyron's.  In September they told her (and the other candidates) that they would have to take the tests again.

There was a brief bout of wishing that they had said so in March rather than September, then the Sack household went into siege mode.  It has not been pretty here: Horyon soaked up hundreds of hours of online lectures about teaching and English, mostly at chipmunk speed.  She holed up at her parents' home evening after evening, staying until midnight most nights.  I put the kids in bed every night except Monday, when I got home from work at 11.  I did most of the cooking, feeding and cleaning, which means that none of them got done particularly well, especially the cleaning.  Horyon's parents took up a lot of slack, feeding the kids more often than before, and the parents of some of Maxine's classmates helped out as well.

Horyon has gone through ups and downs aplenty in the past five months.  She would find a good study resource and bubble about it, she would look up, realize how far she had to go and groan with frustration.  She had to deal with her regular work duties of course, shooting them down quickly and getting back to the larger task.  And she occasionally tried to do nice things for Maxine and Quinten, by way of apology.  This time around Maxine seemed to understand, though she still got whiny at times.  But Quinten just couldn't understand why he couldn't see Mommy for days at a time, and even then only at dinner, or for a short play time.

Horyon went to her parents' church the last two Sundays before the test, as it is easier to escape quickly and get back to studying.  She spent a few nights, including the night before the test, at their home, to avoid getting caught up in the time traps of our home.

I gave her permission to prioritize me and our marriage last.  I couldn't even tell you when or how we talked about it.  I think there was a conversation, but it probably wasn't very long.  None of our conversations in the past few months have been very long.  It was more about me deciding that I would not add any stress to her life if I could avoid it.

There were times when I wanted to tell her to give up.  I wanted to tell her that she was sacrificing too much, too soon after the last time.  I wanted to tell her that Quinten was crying at bedtime every night, that Maxine was moody.  There were times I wanted to tell her how lonely I felt, how much I missed her.  How I hadn't heard her laughter in so long that I had forgotten the lift it gave my heart.  There were times I wanted to tell her that whatever the goal is we are working for it is just. Not. Worth it.

I couldn't.

But it is now finished.  Horyon passed all three stages:  in 2013 her score was the lowest of the applicants.  This time she nudged it up a few points and had the best score of all the applicants.  To be fair, many of them gave up and sought jobs at other schools, but I was still impressed.

Stage two, the interview, went well.  They asked some difficult questions, but she was prepared.  Last time they didn't even have the interview stage, so she had no way to prepare.

The final stage, a demonstration lesson, also went well.  It was accompanied by an ethical dilemma which Horyon did not tell me about until after it was all over.  I agreed with her choice.  I think the me that she married, the younger, more foolish person that I used to be, might have argued the point.  Maybe that's one reason she didn't talk with me about it.  Of course, she was busy, stressed out, and had more knowledgeable counsel in her father, but I like to think that she still sees me as an idealistic youngster.

Last week she received official notice that she will be hired as a permanent teacher at her school.  We all breathed a huge sigh of relief, and I am still thanking God.  This may not be on the same order of miracle as parting the Red Sea or turning water into wine, but for Korea it comes pretty close.  A woman her age, returning to teaching after an absence is just not expected to do well.  They obviously have a lot of faith in her.

One other piece of good news: I am changing jobs.  This is a first for me, in that I am returning to work at a place where I have worked before, Kyungsung University.  It was an interesting process getting back in, punctuated by some weird emails from the administration.  Fortunately, a former coworker let me know that things were actually progressing well for me, and told me that I was on board a full two weeks before the administration let me know.

I will take this as a friendly reminder of how things work at my new/old job.

With the majority of the stress in our home now finished, I hope to resume my presence here on the Roblog.  If you have been checking back here again and again over the past nine months, I just want you to know that I really appreciate it, Uncle Bob.
Don't worry!  Not our baby!

Successful cooking lesson from Maxine to Quinten!
Trust me, you don't want to see the unsuccessful one.

Late Christmas present: New Bike!

Flying Suit!

1 comment:

erin said...

Thank you for not telling all of this to your mom while it was happening. And congrats to both of you for gaining what you were after.

A Brief Introduction

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